21 May 2015 • • by Heather Lou

Off the Shoulder Nettie Dress Tutorial

Off the shoulder DIY Dress | Nettie Dress & Bodysuit sewing pattern | Closet Core Patterns // closetcasefiles.com

Thank you for all the great comments on my off the shoulder dress hack from earlier this week! I wanted to share a little tutorial for those of you interested in doing the same, and as promised, it's easy as pie to accomplish. This pattern hack could be applied to other knit dress patterns in your stash, but keep in mind that in order for it to work, the dress must fit snugly across the shoulders and bust in order for it to stay up and not create boob panic whenever you bend over.


First things first, get your pattern pieces together. We will be modifying the front and back bodice, along with the sleeve. Starting on the front bodice, draw a point approximately 4" below the top of the shoulder. Now draw a line across the bodice at this point, perpendicular to center front. Repeat for the back piece as well. To ensure that the line on the back will line up with the front, walk the seam along the armscye to make sure they meet up correctly. If you line up the corner of the sleeve with the corner of the front armscye, you should be able to draw a line at more or less the same height across the sleeve cap, perpendicular to the grainline. Your pieces should look something like this:

off the shoulder dress DIY

You'll want to double check that the sleeve line is being cut off at the right spot, so draw in your seam allowance and measure between the notch and cut line to ensure the distance is the same on bodice and sleeve.

off the shoulder dress DIYoff the shoulder dress DIY

Dropping the shoulder 4" is fairly conservative. You may find you want to go down even lower, but just keep in mind the height of  the band at the top. Once it's sewn together you can try it on and decide if you'd like to take a little more off.


The process for sewing the band is the same that it would be for the regular neckline, so I didn't take pictures of that step. To get the length of your band, use a measuring tape to measure the opening of your dress. Cut a band that is 80% of that length, plus 3/8" on each end for the seam allowance. You'll want something a little wider than the reglar Nettie band since you want it to help hold the dress up and tight against your body. I wanted a nice thick 3/4" band, so I cut a strip of fabric that was 2 1/4" wide (3/4" doubled plus seam allowance). You'll sew the short ends together and press in half along the long edge to create a circular band. With a chalk pen, divide the neckline into even fourths along the CF, CB and sleeves. Divide your band in even fourths, and match the band to the dress opening, with the seam of the band centered on CB. Sew it together, stretching the band as you go to match the opening of the dress. If you need more help on this step, see my post from the Nettie sewalong on attaching a knit band.

sewing a knit band

Once the band is sewn in, press the seam allowance down and topstitch with a zig zag or double needle stitch.

sew knit band to dressknit band

And that's it! Told ya it was an easy mod! Anyone else want to give this hack a whirl this summer? SHOULDER LIBERATION TODAY!

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